Scholars Program, Volunteer Spotlight

Meet Jessica, a Postsecondary Coach

JessicaKaushalJessica Kaushal currently serves as a postsecondary coach in the Scholars program where she is matched with a twelfth grade scholar to provide support on his journey towards a postsecondary education. Jessica joined FLOC last year, after a big move and change in industry encouraged her to give back to the community in a more direct way.

Jessica is no stranger to FLOC, though; this past summer she served as a math tutor to an energetic fifth grader in the Neighborhood Tutoring Program. While she loved NTP, Jessica decided to return as a postsecondary coach because she’s excited about providing the support she lacked to a high-school senior. “[Applying to college] is a complicated process,” said Jessica. “Going from a large public high school to a small private university, where it seemed like everyone already knew how to write a long paper, was a huge jump.”

This year, Jessica works with a student named Nicholas, who is interested in pursuing a liberal arts education, just as she did. Nicholas emigrated from Taiwan at a very young age, but after growing up in the city, he’s excited at the prospect of going to school elsewhere. He hopes to pick up some “non-euro-centric” history in college, and perhaps pursue his interest in behavior economics.

When asked why she originally chose to volunteer with FLOC, Jessica said that she appreciates the long-term relationship FLOC has with many of its students. Volunteering at FLOC has also given Jessica a more holistic perspective about the time and resources it takes to educate a child, which has influenced her mindset within the world of public policy.

We’re thrilled to have Jessica back for another exciting year at FLOC!

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at FLOC.)

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Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Scholars Program, Student Spotlight

Meet Ashley

Ashley is a lively, ambitious seventh grader, returning to FLOC for her second year in the Scholars program and her fifth year of tutoring. When she first came to FLOC, Ashley was quiet and reluctant to answer questions in school. Today, she says that her FLOC tutors and workshops have given her more confidence and made her excited to participate in class. “It’s great to raise my hand and know I have the right answer,” she said, grinning.

Ashley Ramirez

When asked what she’s most excited about doing in the 7th grade Scholars workshop this year, Ashley said that she’s looking forward to making new friends and learning skills that will help her succeed in school. The excitement in her voice was evident as she continued to explain that she wants to become a veterinarian for small animals one day. “My family helped nurse a baby bird back to health this summer, and I loved caring for it. Don’t you think it would be really fun to get paid to care for animals all day?”

Ashley’s other career aspiration is to become a teacher, because she would like to help other kids learn to read and gain confidence in school, just like FLOC has done for her. Ashley has many other hobbies, including playing volleyball for her school, but coming to FLOC remains one of her favorite activities. “FLOC is just the best,” she exclaimed, as her mother arrived to pick her up. “Can you write that down too?”

We’re looking forward to having Ashley back for another great year at FLOC!

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator.)

Events, Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Scholars Program

Recognition Event Recap

On Friday May 29th, FLOC held its annual recognition event at the Woman’s National Democratic Club to celebrate all the amazing work our students, families, volunteers, and staff accomplished throughout the year. 11th grade Scholars Ghelatia and Johanna emceed, and FLOC staff gave out special awards to students and volunteers in four different categories: Visionary, Unity, Champion, and Empower.

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The Visionary Award celebrates students and volunteers who have a specific goal, a vision for the future, and have identified paths toward that objective.

NTP Student: Giselle
Scholars Student: Demarro
Volunteer: Gerald Mason

The Unity Award celebrates the people at FLOC who demonstrate exceptional relationship building or mentoring skills.

NTP Student: Valerie
Scholars Student: Jenny
Volunteer: Judith Blagrove
Student and Tutor Pair: Delchristoff and Jason Aiken.

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The Champion Award recognizes students and volunteers who are dedicated and committed to their program.

NTP Student: Wesley
Scholars Student: Joel
Volunteers: Bridgette and EJ Palmer

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The Empower awards are given to people who embody all of FLOC’s values. They go above and beyond in whatever their role is.

Partner: Acumen Solutions
Staff: Kimberly Davis
Family: The Ortiz Family
NTP Student and Scholars Student: A’Tyra
NTP Student and Scholars Student: Maura
Volunteer: Elese Sizemore

FLOC also recognized our 8th graders in Scholars and tutoring for an exciting time in their lives. They are all halfway toward completing their postsecondary degrees! To celebrate FLOC put together some High School Survival Kits. The kits included a FLOC notebook, a FLOC water bottle, a folder they could take on college tours, pens, pencils, and candy.

The night ended with time for chatting, eating food, playing games, and taking pictures at the FLOC photo booth. FLOC is excited to see what our students, families, and volunteers will accomplish in the future!

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(Tamarae Hildebrandt is an NTP Site Coordinator.)

Development, Events, News

Beyond the Classroom Fundraising Luncheon: Celebrating FLOC’s 50th Anniversary

On May 13th, FLOC celebrated a milestone of 50 years of service to students in the Washington, DC community. At this year’s Beyond the Classroom luncheon, FLOC shared with board members, volunteers, new and old supporters, and community partners our vision for growth in the next 3 years; a look at the work we have accomplished and what is left to be done; and a call to help raise the vitally important funds to realize this work.

Please take a minute to read Executive Director Tim Payne and FLOC student alumnae Brittany Okafor’s remarks. Also, check out the video we debuted at the luncheon showcasing our work the past 50 years and why FLOC is an organization worth celebrating.

If you missed this year’s luncheon, please join FLOC at Come Dream With Us: The Future of FLOC on Wednesday, May 20 from 6-8pm at the WNDC. Details and RSVP at this link.

(Kate Fleischer is FLOC’s Development Assistant.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight, Volunteer Spotlight

WNDC’s Dynamic Duo

Jasmin and her tutor Ashley Oakes have been breaking records in our WNDC testing room this year!

WNDC Pair

Jasmin is a student in our WNDC – Tuesday night reading program and in the Scholars program. She has passed many tests in the Wilson curriculum and has added new words to her vocabulary such as frolic, compliance, occurrence, and more.

Jasmin began this year in Unit 2, Lesson 1 in the Wilson curriculum and will end at the beginning of Unit 4, Lesson 1. She has shown a lot of dedication to improving her reading skills and works very well with her tutor. This is Jasmin’s fourth year with FLOC, and she says it has been the best one yet.

Ashley has also enjoyed her time at FLOC and credits a former colleague for recommending the program to her. As the oldest sibling from a large family, Ashley often draws from experiences of tutoring/mentoring her siblings while working with Jasmin. They both are excited to return to FLOC next year and continue to work together!

(Felise Ortiz is a site coordinator for the Neighborhood Tutoring Program, including in the Tuesday night program at the Woman’s National Democratic Club.)

Outdoor Education Center

Throwback Thursday: November’s Wee Warrior Dash in West Virginia

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It was a cold (but not too windy) Saturday morning in November. About 200 kids and adults gathered at the Sam Michaels Park in Jefferson County for the Wee Warrior Dash. Some of the staff here at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center voluntarily help to organize and put on the free event for kids, and we invited any of our after school program kids to join us for the fun. This year, Iann and David, two of our Leaders in Action students, adventurously came out for the morning excitement.

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Not only did they receive t-shirts and goodie bags, but the real enticement of the mile long youth race are the obstacles, lots of them. David, Iann, and the other 120+ wee warriors climbed, jumped, crawled, hurdled, and zig-zagged through a dozen different fun physical features. I interviewed David well after the race and asked him how it was and he said, “It was challenging but not too challenging. I enjoyed the obstacles the most.”

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David has been in our program for a couple years now, but this year he has been faithfully coming to the optional Running Club portion every chance he gets. He’s been working hard and has even started doing more on his own outside of the club. Checking back in with David a couple months after the race I asked him if he was still running at home some. “Yes, about once or twice a week for about 15 minutes in my backyard,” he says. “It has a hill and trees that you have to weave around kind of like obstacles.”

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“Would you do it again?” I ask. Without hesitation David answers, “Yes.” That’s the real goal for such an event like the Wee Warrior Dash or our running club. It’s challenging and fun, and we aim to inspire more kids to learn to enjoy physically exerting themselves for the sake of their health, enjoyment, and confidence knowing that they can overcome all sorts of challenging obstacles if they just try their best. We are certainly proud of Iann and David for giving it their best that day.

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(Josh Evans is the Program Assistant for FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in WV)